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The Power of Thresholding in Computer Vision: What is "Threshold"?

Updated: Jan 26

You might be unfamiliar with the term "computer vision" or have heard it tossed around a few times. Yet this technology is deeply interwoven into our daily lives. From your phone's facial recognition feature to social media filters and even automated checkouts at supermarkets, it's everywhere. But within this broad field, what exactly is "threshold"?

Let's dive in and learn!


1. Imagine the Threshold

Firstly, picture the literal "threshold" of a door in your home. To enter or exit, you must cross this threshold. Everything below a certain height can't get in, while everything above can. Similarly, in computer vision, the concept of "threshold" works on the same logic.


2. Distinguishing Between Colors

To a computer, an image is composed of millions of colors. However, sometimes, for a specific purpose, we might want to distinguish between certain colors or shades. Consider a document scanning app, for instance. To recognize and isolate the text from unwanted details, we can set a "threshold" for the colors of the text.


Images created with different threshold values
Images with different threshold values

3. Applying the Threshold Value

Using the threshold value we've set, we categorize all the colors in the image into two distinct groups based on whether they fall below or above this value. These groups are typically black and white. In this way, all pixels darker than a particular shade become black, while all those lighter ones turn white.


4. Practical Uses of Thresholding

For a simple demonstration of the power of thresholding, imagine you have a photograph of white paper with black text. You want to see just the clear text. If you set the correct threshold value, unwanted details like wrinkles, smudges, or other imperfections on the paper will disappear, leaving you with only clear, legible text.


Thresholding is a straightforward yet powerful method in computer vision. It shows up in many applications and presents us with clearer, more understandable visuals. In the world of technology, it's often fascinating to see how even the simplest ideas can pack such a punch!

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